Team Mountain Khakis p/b Smart Stop made their National Race Calendar debut this weekend with a strong showing at the Sunny King Criterium on Saturday night. With a 3rd place finish by Luke the team was absolutely elated. As the podium presentation ensued the team learned that Luke had been disqualified and that elation turned to dismay and frustration. Luke was being relegated for an infraction that was the result of a miscommunication between the race officials that was no fault of his own.
Although disappointing for everyone, it is exciting to think about what is in store for the guys at the next big race. Luke’s showing at Anniston was amazing and although he was relegated we think it is just a matter of time until this 19 year old phenomenon shows everyone his talents and rightfully takes his place on the podium of a national caliber event.
Sunny King Criterium, Anniston, AL (NRC)
With a successful campaign of local racing behind them, the boys were eager to test their legs in a national-level event at the Sunny King Criterium in downtown Anniston, Alabama. Team Mountain Khakis p/b SmartStop held its own against a strong, international field, animating the race from the start and placing riders in each of the evening's major moves.
Adam near the front as the field flies uphill past the start-finish
Thomas made a strong showing in early moments of the race, winning a prime and riding solo off the front for a few laps before he was consumed by the fast-charging pack behind. Despite the blistering pace and constantly strung-out field, few moves gained a significant advantage over the main bunch until late in the race, when a group of 12 broke free with 13 laps to-go. As Ben, who has a degree in astrophysics, drove the break along with teammate Thomas, race announcer Chad Andrews exclaimed that "The Spaceman has launched into outer space!" Unfortunately, their efforts were in vain as the group failed to organize and the entire field came together with 5 laps to go.
Ben, a.k.a. "The Spaceman," was one of the most aggressive participants in the race
Meanwhile, Luke was deftly regaining position in the chaotic field after officials re-inserted him into the race after stopping for a wheel change with 6 laps to-go. He came through the final corner with promising speed and position, launching an early sprint at the base of the long, uphill homestretch and crossing the line in an impressive third place behind Jonathan Cantwell (V Australia) and Mike Northey (Pure Black Racing). Sadly, officials ruled that Luke's wheel-change occurred after the free-lap had expired. Though the infraction was the result of a miscommunication and due to no fault of his own, Luke was disqualified. Behind him, Thomas sprinted for 11th and Adam was 16th.
"Team Mountain Khakis p/b SmartStop really stepped it up tonight, and along with Pure Black Racing, was one of the two teams that really animated the race," remarked team co-owner Jamie Bennett, who watched the entire race live on internet U-Stream coverage. "Luke's disqualification is a tough blow, but we should keep our heads up and stay focused on promising things to come. I'm really proud of the way the team rode tonight."
Jonathan Cantwell (V Australia) took the win just ahead of Luke, visible in the background
1. Jonathan Cantwell - V Australia
2. Mike Northey - Pure Black Racing
3. Rahsaan Bahati - SKLZ Pista Palace
4. Patrick Bevin - Bissell Pro Cycling
5. Raymond Kreder - Chipotle Development
6. Luca Damiani - Kenda p/b 5 Hour Energy
7. Emile Abraham - AeroCat Cycling
8. Ty Magner Team - Type 1 Development
9. Davide Frattini - United Healthcare
10. Daniel Holt Team - Type 1 Development
11. Thomas Brown - Team Mountain Khakis p/b SmartStop
12. Daniel Summerhill - Chipotle Development
13. David Guttenplan - Four 2 One Sports/Chemstar
14. Thomas Scully - Chipotle Development
15. Michael Sherer - Kelly Benefits Strategies
16. Adam Myerson - Team Mountain Khakis p/b SmartStop
17. Bernard Sulzberger - V Australia
18. Hannes Baumgarten - Iron Data Racing
19. Daniel Barry - PureBlack Racing
20. Isaac Howe - Kenda p/b 5 Hour Energy
Foothills Road Race, Anniston, AL
Just hours after the previous night's race, TMK lined up for the hilly, 67-mile Foothills Road Race early on Sunday morning. Though the field stayed together over the course's first few climbs, Travis put in a well-timed attack after a series of difficult hills and a group of 8 formed the break of the day. Midway through the race, the break surged up a steep, mile-long climb and Travis was forced out of the move.
Adam instructed his teammates to save their legs and be patient while he moved to the front of the main field to being the chase. He was soon joined Kenda p/b 5 Hour Energy, RealCyclist.com, and Chipotle Development in working to bring the move back, and the gap was significantly reduced as the pack approached the final climb of the day, only miles from the flat finish. The field shattered as riders attacked up the climb, but Ben, Thomas, and Neil managed to stay with the main group as it rolled toward the finish. With 2k to go, the three remaining riders from the original move were within sight, and Neil attempted to bridge to the leaders when a lull at the front of the main field slow their pursuit. Neil's attack was short-lived as the riders behind him responded immediately, and he held on for 17th place while Thomas' reliable sprint was disrupted by a near-crash immediately in front of him.
Next Up: The 2011 Roanoke Twilight Criterium April 16th will be the first Roanoke Twilight Criterium. This will be an exciting event for spectators as racers battle at night on a tight downtown course in Roanoke, Virginia.